LogoLogo

Mazara del Vallo, Province of Trapani, Sicily

Mazara del Vallo lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river, is an agricultural and fishing centre and its port gives shelter to the largest fishing fleet in Italy.
The name was Mazzara del Vallo with a double "Z" until after World War II. Mazara del Vallo is well connected to the rest of Sicily by a regional train service, private bus service, and by car via the A29 highway (known as Palermo-Mazara del Vallo). During the summer period, Mazara is also connected via ferry to Pantelleria.

Info

  • Population: about 50,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 91026
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0923
  • Patron Saint: St. Vito, celebrated on 15 June
  • Frazioni & Localities: Mazara Due, Borgata Costiera.

History

Mazara was founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century B.C., with the name of Mazar (the Rock). It then passed under the control of Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, before being occupied by the Arabs in the year 827.

During the Arab period, Sicily was divided into three different administrative regions, Val di Noto, Val Demone and Val di Mazara, making the city an important commercial harbour and centre of learning.

In the year 1072, Mazara was conquered by the Normans, headed by Roger I. During that period - in 1093, the Diocese of Mazara, one of the oldest in Europe, was instituted. After the death of Frederick II, Sicily passed to the Angevins, then followed by the Spaniards of Aragon. The Aragon period (1282-1409) is characterized by a political, economic and demographic decline of Mazara.

The city passed under the control of the Savoy crown in 1713, for five years, then of the Austrians, for 16 years, and by the Bourbons, until in 1860 the city was finally included in the Kingdom of Italy.

What to see

  • The city center, a typical arabic quarter called the Casbah, reminiscent of the Arab domination, probably the most prosperous in the history of Mazara.
  • The Museo Regionale Sant'Egidio in piazza Plebiscito, where the 'Dancing Satyr' can be seen, a bronze statue over 2mt tall found off the port in 1998, at a depth of 500 meters by a local fishing boat. The statue is believed to have been sculpted by Greek artist Praxiteles.

Where to stay